ORLANDO, FL – The two-day groundbreaking Florida Palliative Care Coalition Summit opened on Friday, June 4, 2021, to a socially distanced invitation-only crowd of Florida’s 100 premier healthcare professionals at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The pandemic pushed back the Summit’s original launch, but that only enhanced the Coalition’s resolve to create a pivotal event with nationally acclaimed speakers, one that would immediately and positively impact the lives of fellow Floridians.
For the past three years, representatives from three dozen organizations throughout the State worked together as a Steering Committee to form the Florida Palliative Care Coalition and plan a quality-of-life summit. The Summit opened with co-steering committee leaders Paul Ledford, President of the Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association and Susan Ponder-Stansel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alivia Care, Inc. followed by Dr. Sloan B. Karver, M.D.’s presentation on the “National Perspective”, and a discussion on “Shaping Better Care” by nationally renowned healthcare experts, Bill Novelli and Dr. Katy Lanz. The day closed with “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally” moderated by Mike Simmons with presenters Sarah Ascher, and Marisette Hasan. The next day’s agenda included additional innovative presentations and the formation of work groups focused on public policy and advocacy, professional education and practice, community outreach and partnerships, and community education. These work group are the heart of the future of the Coalition and the foundation for a multi-year action plan that will shape the design and delivery of palliative care services in Florida.
The mission of the Florida Palliative Care Coalition is to support and inspire the acceleration of solutions that promote a better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic, or advanced illness through research, education, advocacy, and access to holistic healthcare. The Coalition’s goals are:
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- Improve the quality of life for patients and families.
- Create a greater understanding of the stakeholders involved in palliative care and their respective roles.
- Create a uniform definition of palliative care in Florida.
- Bring key stakeholders involved in palliative care together to help ensure access to care and improved quality of life.
- Partner with the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council (CCRAB) and incorporate their goals related to standards and education.
- Garner support for palliative care and the policies needed to: Expand access to hospice and palliative care.
- Assure excellence in hospice and palliative care.
- Advocate for the needs of those in the final phases of life.
The Founding Partners of the Summit are Alivia Care, Inc., Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association, Suncoast Hospice, and Tidewell Hospice. The Summit sponsor is the Home Care Association of Florida.
As Bill Novelli said in his opening remarks, “We all want to be the authors of our lives.” This quote from Dr. Atul Gawande, M.D., a surgeon, writer, and public health leader sums up the mission of the Florida Palliative Care Coalition. This dynamic, newly formed Coalition is singularly focused on the acceleration of solutions to help the people of Florida be the authors of their own lives.